Labour MP Peter Kyle is accusing the Government of having no plan to address the impeding social care crisis and calls for a commitment to dignity for all in later life.
In a letter published by Politics Home, he says that the care system is in a perilous position. “It’s clear the Government needs to act now to avert a crisis,” he writes.
The MP for Hove and Portsdale has been a staunch advocate for the NHS and social care in the UK, and feels that the situation is bad, and getting worse.
“With a significant proportion of care homes funding coming from older people whose residential care is being paid for by their local council, care homes have felt the very real impact of the cuts to local authority budgets as many councils have reduced the amount they have paid per place,” his letter states.
“This tight financial situation will be further exacerbated by the increases in the minimum wage from April. Now I completely support the increases in the minimum wage, especially for the traditionally low-wage care sector. But without any additional funding for local authorities, it will only push care homes further towards the brink – A report from Respublica in November stated that an unfunded living wage could end up with the loss of 37,000 care home beds.”
Mr Kyle says that the Government’s promises to increase funding are inadequate. “The power to raise council tax by an additional 2% is a drop in the ocean compared to the additional resources needed. The Kings Fund has estimated that the funding gap for social care could be as high as £3.5billion by the end of this Parliament.”
“My concern is the Government has no plan to address these issues so that’s why I’ve called for this debate to give the Minister the chance to explain how the Government intends to address the issues. If the Government truly is committed to dignity for all in later life, then they will heed the warnings from the sector and put in place a plan to secure the long-time viability of our care homes,” he concludes.